Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins” as Want to Read:
The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  379 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

A history-loving girl, Lyndon Baines Hawkins's relentless search for the truth puts her in direct opposition to her fusspot grandmother’s need to keep up appearances. Lyndie knows lots about history: she can tell you who President Lincoln’s best friend was, the gruesome diseases of Civil War soldiers, and where
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Kathy Dawson Books / Penguin
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Gail Shepherd Yes, it has been substantially revised and retitled and is now slated for February 2019.
Ruth Almost 12 for most of the story, then she turns 12.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  379 ratings  ·  119 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins
Jess Redman
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-debut
“I think the truth is a place you can only move toward, like walking toward the horizon. Even though you know you’ll never get all the way there.”

So says Lyndie B. Hawkins, the quick-tempered, quick-witted, and completely endearing main character and narrator of this story.

Lyndie, an 11-year-old historian-in-the-making, is in the “category of people who ask questions.” She wants to know why she and her parents have to live with her appearances-are-everything grandmother Lady. She wants to know
Joanne Kelleher
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
With the help of her favorite librarian, Lyndie B. Hawkins devours Civil War history, and she is starting to realize that some of the things in her history book are not exactly true. And as much as she knows about the history of her home town, Love's Forge, Tennessee, she is in the dark about what is going on with her dad. She knows that he keeps drinking from the bottle he has hidden in his glove compartment, that her mom spends most of the day sleeping, and that they had to move in with her ju ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
*Review is of an advanced reader copy

There has been a recent spate of middle grade novels about the Vietnam War. Add The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins to that growing list. Unlike the other books I have read, Lyndie's story occurs over a decade after the war. Set in Tennessee in 1985, author Gail Shepherd writes about a young girl, name d for President Lyndon Baines Johnson, with a penchant for history, particularly in regards to the Civil War. When Lyndie's father loses his job the family i
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have your parents ever experienced adult problems that you just don't understand? Have you ever felt frustrated by being left in the dark when it comes to your family issues? Lyndie B. Hawkins is just such issues and she is about to blow her lid from all of the secrecy. All of her life she has had two loving parents, a great house, and a "normal" life. Then, when her dad came back from the Vietnam War everything changed. He didn't come back with any physical damage like so many others in their s ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
ARC provided by the publisher

Lyndie is not happy that she has to move into her grandparents' house along with her mother and father in 1985. Her father has lost his job under circumstances she doesn't understand, and seems to be drinking more than her grandmother, Lady, would deem wise. Her mother, who normally takes great pride in gardening, prefers to stay in bed. Lyndie has to head back to her private school (that's where nice girls go, says Lady), where she has a good friend in Dawn, whose f
Kelly Coon
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good gravy, The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins is an incredible read. Gail's prose is witty beyond belief and not in a slapstick kind of way. It's more of a Celeste Ng kind of wit, where it gets you right in the gut and you're snort-laughing and waking everyone up in the house. But this book isn't just a funny tale. It deals with PTSD, grief, alcoholism, family, and friendship in a heart-wrenching look at everything from war to foster care and the many and varied ways we can all hurt and heal ...more
Richie Partington
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Richie’s Picks: THE TRUE HISTORY OF LYNDIE B. HAWKINS by Gail Shepherd, Penguin Random House/Kathy Dawson Books, March 2019, 304p., ISBN: 978-0-525-42845-9

“Anger is a response that you learned early in life to help you cope with pain.”
“The only thing true and indisputable when you feel angry is that you are in pain and trying to do something about it.”
“Expressing anger temporarily helps you overcome feelings of helplessness and lack of control. But it disrupts relationships and makes you feel ev
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lyndon Baines Hawkins lives in Love's Forge, Tennessee, and is surrounded by history. She is about to turn twelve and has a burning need to get the historical details right. She takes seriously the quote by Harry Truman inside the Love's Forge History Museum that says: "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." The location allows for exploration of the Civil War and the time setting (1985) expands the scope to include the Vietnam War as Lyndie and many of her friends are t ...more
Joshua Levy
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary book that proves, over and over, just what can be accomplished in middle grade. Lyndie's life isn't easy: She has to navigate around and through friends and family who don't always make the road easy. Her parents are suffering, deeply; and her grandmother, Lady, values the Hawkins's privacy above all else. And that disconnect--between what Lyndie is going through and what she is allowed to confront and share--leaves her alone in more ways than one.

Alone, but not powerless. With
Naomi Milliner
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to believe Gail Shepherd is a debut novelist. This book is written with such skill and grace, surely she's written a slew of others before it. The title hero(ine) could not be more engaging or endearing, as she navigates her way through a confusing world of truths and lies - often finding herself trapped between the two. Even as she struggles to make tough choices, her heart is always in the right place. Both the heroine, and her story, will stay with you a long time after you turn the ...more
Danielle Lee
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When my friend gave me this book (she is a friend of a friend of the author) I didn’t know what to expect! It turns out this is my favorite book of 2021 so far! I absolutely fell in live with this brave, 11 year old girl named Lyndie and I love the whole story!

This book shares a message of doing the right thing and believing in that right thing against all odds. Lyndie struggles with the values and family beliefs she was raised with as all around her, something doesn’t seem right. Her family isn
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This deals with some pretty heavy subject matter (Vietnam, PTSD, etc.) but I thought it was well done and important. I love seeing more middle grade books tackle difficult subject matter in such good ways.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
PTSD, depression, family secrets, "the proper way" to do things, hilarious dialogue/narration/insights. Well done! ...more
Remy Lai
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a gorgeous book about family, loyalty and friendship. And I love how all those things are seamlessly weaved into history. And you'll love the quick-witted Lyndie! ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, kids
Lyndie B. Hawkins loves history and loves the truth, even though she understands the two can have a complicated relationship at times. Lyndie searches for the truth in many places — about her family, about a friend at school, about war and its aftermath — with an indomitable spirit and a rich, unforgettable voice. There are so many things to love about this book, but I have a big soft spot for the friendship with Dawn.

Read this book! You will love seeing Lyndie change, grow, and find her truths
Cory Leonardo
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A flawless novel about intrepid Lyndie B. Hawkins, who, like Sojourner Truth, is a "traveler to the truth." You'll be immersed in the setting, the voice, and the lives of this flawed, disjointed family who's trying to love and care for each other the only ways they know how--imperfectly and out of their own hurts--with Lyndie, the small whirlwind at their family's center, pulling them together, brokenness and all. Hopeful and heartfelt, this is the first, I hope, of many from this talented autho ...more
Lisa Ramée
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh, how I loved this MG novel. The way Shepherd weaves in history, into such an important story about family, and loyalty and friendship and problems that can be so difficult for anyone let alone a preteen understand. Lyndie's battles with her anger, her grandmother and Pee Wee are so true to life and I feel so hard in love with Lyndie and how desperately she wanted her life to be "normal" and her family to be whole. ...more
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story of 11-year-old Lyndie Baines covers a lot of territory, but it is primarily about truth and the effect of lies or sometimes just not knowing the truth. The novel also shares the effects of war on those who serve, their families, and their communities.

Lyndie’s father, his friends, and neighbors served in the war in Viet Nam. Some never returned, some returned with physical scars, and others, like Lyndie’s dad, returned with psychological scars, scars which affect their families and liv
First sentence: There is such a thing as honorable lying.

Premise/plot: The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins is set in a small town, Love's Forge, in Tennessee in 1985. Lyndie B. Hawkins, our heroine, is having a time of it. Her family has recently moved in with her grandparents (Lady and Grandpa Tad). Her home life is full of TENSION and STRESS. Her dad--a Vietnam war veteran--may think he's hiding his alcohol problem from the rest of the family and the whole community...but...few are fooled. L
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was featured on Hidden Brain, a podcast about psychology I really enjoy. It tells the story of Lyndie, her Vietnam vet dad, and her image-conscious grandmother. Lyndie knows that much of what we think of as history is really myths, legends, and lies that make us feel good about our past. But should the same be true of what we tell ourselves – and others – about our families? Should loyalty to family mean that you might lie about others in order to protect those you care about? These ar ...more
Allison Parker
Lyndie B. (named for President Lyndon B. Johnson) is fascinated by history. Particularly interesting is how history tends to gloss over some things that make people look bad, like the historical treatment of the Cherokee people in her home state of Tennessee. So she's thinking long and hard about lies, and lack of truths, as her family attempts to find a new normal after her veteran father loses his job and they move in with her grandmother, who goes by Lady. Lady has very particular rules for L ...more
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lyndie is a spunky young junior high school girl growing up in the 80s. She moves in with her grandparents along with her mom who spends most of her time in bed and her dad who has come back from Vietnam not quite right. Lyndie immediately clashes with her strong willed grandmother, Lady who is very strict and has a lot of rules. Lyndie gets into a series of adventures that involve cutting school, befriending wildlife and becoming friends with a boy with an dark past. The book is well written an ...more
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. This was an unexpectedly lovely surprise of a story. In 1985 Tennessee, Lyndie and her parents move in with her stuffy grandmother and lawyer grandfather. Her family is big on appearances and keeping things covered up, so she doesn’t really know that her father has PTSD and a drinking problem after serving in the Vietnam War. As she navigates her new home life, a friend of hers family takes in a teen from a juvenile facility; as she learns more about him, she finds the courage to fac ...more
Wendy Thomas
This book checks all the boxes for me--a spunky, courageous, somewhat rebellious female protagonist; a well-rounded, well-developed cast of secondary characters; small town setting with a very strong sense of place and, of course, an awesome librarian; a story that deals with some pretty tough topics but also manages to be warm and sometimes humorous. Enough said.
Neha Thakkar
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh man. I had heard good things, but the first few chapters left me wondering why. Then I read a bit more. And truly didn’t want it to end. Then I finished it today. I’m not crying, you’re crying. A wonderful mixture of childhood, anxiety, anger, veterans, history and love. Highly recommend.
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. Lyndie is such a lovable and flawed character with a unique voice and a believable amount of precociousness. This book deals with a lot of heavy topics (alcoholism, foster families, war, suicide, etc.) but in a way that kids can relate to.
Annemarie Pettinato
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love Lyndie! Incredible and uplifting, a perfect story told by an incomparable voice.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good story. I liked the ending and the storyline. The main character Lyndie, was a great treat!!! Though I didn’t approve of some the language. I really liked the book!
Lillian Clark
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a truly wonderful book.

Lyndie loves history. She's a researcher, pushing past convenient fictions, looking for the (sometimes ugly) heart of a matter. She's also an eleven (going on twelve) year-old girl with a family in turmoil. A turmoil that, as she's told repeatedly by her grandmother Lady, must be kept private. Except, that privacy often extends even to Lyndie, pulling her tight into a tornado she twirls along with yet doesn't entirely understand.

I could talk on and on about how
Melody Maysonet
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. It deals with some tough subjects in a sensitive, lovely way. Lyndie B. Hawkins, her father, and her friend D.B. are characters I’ll remember for a long time.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Extraordinary Birds
  • Planet Earth Is Blue
  • All the Greys on Greene Street
  • Roll with It
  • The Year We Fell From Space
  • Orange for the Sunsets
  • Birdie
  • The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue (The Vanderbeekers, #3)
  • Over the Moon
  • Words on Fire
  • The Last Last-Day-of-Summer
  • My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich
  • A Swirl of Ocean
  • A Tale Magnolious
  • The Library of Ever (The Library of Ever #1)
  • Tree of Dreams
  • Super Jake & the King of Chaos
  • A Kind of Paradise
See similar books…
I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was nine years old and authored our school Thanksgiving play—“Poor Mr. Turkey.” But the road to actually publishing a novel has been long and winding. I’ve been a food writer, a teacher, a poet, a book reviewer, an editor, a columnist. One of my first jobs was as a reader for a paperback publisher in London. I also published an independent newspaper with ...more

Related Articles

As this strange summer of staying put winds down, one thing remains truer than ever: Books offer us endless adventure and new horizons to...
58 likes · 30 comments
“My so-called bedroom has purple floral wallpaper and a polished secretary desk with claw feet like a monster. It has a fireplace that looks like it hasn't been lit for two hundred years. Clear as day, no child has ever inhabited that room. I don't see why I have to be the courageous pioneer.” 0 likes
“You'd best take care, what you lend your heart to.” 0 likes
More quotes…